The Observer profiles four MPs running for Speaker of the House of Commons

Soon there will be a new referee in Canadian politics.

The first act of any new parliament is to elect the Speaker of the House of Commons. There are four candidates running, three Liberals and a lone Conservative. The speaker is traditionally a member of the ruling party, but this is not a rule.

The job of House Speaker

– The Speaker of the House has a variety of roles, including being a liaison between the Senate and Governor General.

– Arguably, the Speaker’s most important role is presiding over the House and facilitating constructive dialogue between parties in parliament.

– Keeping MPs in check and quiet is a large part of the job.

The Dec. 3 election will be the first in which the Speaker is decided by preferential secret ballot.

Before this, a system of exhaustive ballots was used. Exhaustive ballots mean without a clear majority there are successive rounds of election.

According to Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, the benefit of using the preferential system is that “the process of electing someone will be much speedier than in the past when repeated balloting went on for hours.”

Once elected, the new Speaker will replace Saskatchewan Tory Andrew Scheer, who in 2011 became the youngest Speaker of the House at 32 years old.

Here are the four Members of Parliament running for Speaker:

Bruce Stanton, MP
Bruce Stanton, MP (Government of Canada )

Bruce Stanton

  • Party: Conservative
  • Riding: Simcoe-North
  • Served as an MP: since 2006
  • Previous positions in Parliament: Chair of the Standing Committee on
    Aboriginal Affairs

Stanton is the lone Conservative running for speaker. His background is in tourism. He ran a well established family business and served as a board member for organizations such as Tourism Ontario. He has also been active in municipal politics in Severn, On. In a letter to his fellow MPs, he said he is running because, “the House needs a presiding officer who is knowledgeable in the conventions, practices and standing orders of the House, and that this should take priority over party considerations.”

Yasmin Ratansi
Yasmin Ratansi (Government of Canada)

Yasim Ratansi

  • Party: Liberal
  • Riding: Don Valley West
  • Served as an MP: 2004-2011, 2015

Ratansi is the local candidate. She became the first Muslim woman in the House of Commons in 2004 and has been involved with the Liberal party for more than 35 years, soon after she immigrated from Tanzania. Ratansi is an award-winning certified general accountant.

Denis Paradis, MP
Denis Paradis (Government of Canada )

Denis Paradis

  • Party: Liberal
  • Riding: Brome—Missisquoi
  • Served as an MP: since 1995
  • Previous positions in Parliament: Minister responsible for the Francophonie, Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa, Minister of State

Arguably one of the more experienced candidates, Paradis has 20 years of federal service in multiple ministries under his belt. As Secretary for Africa, he help negotiate the release of a Nigerian woman sentenced to death for adultery. He is a lawyer by trade and became president of the Quebec Bar Association in 1993.

Geoff Regan (Government of Canada )

Geoff Regan

  • Party: Liberal
  • Riding: Halifax West
  • Served as an MP: 1993-1997, 2000-2015
  • Previous positions in Parliament: Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard

Regan comes from a strong political family. He is the son of a Nova Scotia Premier and the husband of an MLA. He studied and practised both real estate and commercial law before entering politics. He has served as the chair of environmental caucuses before.

 

One comment:

  1. So Andrew Scheer said the speaker gets free booze, that candidates provide “hospitality” to garner votes!! Can Geoff Regan afford his own Scotch? If you drink on the job you are a alcoholic, there is no place for any drugs in our Houses of Parliament. I would like to see a detailed list of all “perks” provided to our elected and non elected leaders.

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